Stan Harrison's Upbeat "The Optimist" Features Philip Bailey, Phoebe Snow, Andy Vargas & Najma Akhtar


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Philip Bailey, Phoebe Snow, Andy Vargas and others Contribute Vocals to Stan Harrison's Upbeat New CD

Tour Dates with They Might Be Giants Set for October and November in CT, MA, OH, IN, WI, IL, D.C. , PA

New York-based rock/jazz saxophonist Stan Harrison may not yet be a household name, but he's been a superstar to some of the most respected artists and bands in the world. Stan's sax has been heard on albums by David Bowie, Talking Heads, Radiohead, Duran Duran, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, They Might Be Giants, Serge Gainsbourg, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes and many more. He's also a founding member of The Borneo Horns (a sax trio with Lenny Pickett and Steve Elson.)

Now, Harrison steps into the spotlight with his upbeat, infectious new CD, The Optimist. Featuring ten original songs by Harrison, The Optimist showcases the vocal talents of legendary artists, including Philip Bailey (Earth, Wind & Fire,) Phoebe Snow, Andy Vargas (Santana,) Najma Akhtar, and more. Shades of Jazz, Classical, Pop and World music manage to weave their way into the melodic collection, and Harrison lets his guest artists shine, periodically punctuating their vocals with a heartfelt solo.

Working closely with renowned Producer and long-time colleague Gerard McMann, Harrison assembled his winning collection with an eye on creating memorable melodies, sophisticated harmonies and an honest sound. He comments: “Ultimately, I'd like to be viewed as someone who works hard, doesn't try to take the easy way out, strives for excellence and whose music reflects those things. I also hope that people are drawn in by the sound I get out of my sax, itself. It's an obsession for me. Bad reeds have been known to send me into a depression!"

The Optimist contains several stand-out tracks. From 'Breath After Breath', which showcases Harrison at the top of his game, to the title track, which began as an instrumental and soon evolved into an extraordinary vocal performance by Najma Akhtar (in English and Urdu.) Harrison recalls: “Gerard made the insightful suggestion to approach Najma Akhtar about singing on this track. To think of turning this instrumental into a vocal piece, and THEN to think of her, was nothing less than brilliant. I called her in Pakistan, where she was doing relief work with her sister's organization, and discussed my concept for the lyrics. She then wrote and sang what is on the CD. She was wonderful to work with and I am ecstatic that she wanted to sing the song." On 'What About Peace of Mind?', the distinctive sound of Philip Bailey's voice soars; Phoebe Snow delivers a classic performance on the wistful 'Would I Ever Know?'

In person, Stan Harrison is one of the funniest, wittiest and smartest guys you'll ever meet - though he's not sure people would necessarily consider him to be an 'optimist'. Having said that, he called his CD 'The Optimist', because he feels “as much as it might be realistic to be pessimistic about things these days...being guardedly optimistic costs no more, and provides the best possibilities for a positive outcome."

Harrison will soon embark on a U.S. tour with They Might Be Giants. The performances will kick off in Connecticut on October 18th, and will continue through November 24th in Philadelphia. Harrison has lent his talents to multiple albums by They Might Be Giants, including 2007's Else, and his featured slot on the upcoming tour will take him to New Haven, Boston, Northampton, Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Washington DC and Philadelphia. A full itinerary follows below.

Oct 18 Toad's Place New Haven, Connecticut

Oct 19 The Roxy Boston, Massachusetts

Oct 20 Calvin Theatre Northampton, Massachusetts

Nov 6 Southgate House Cincinnati (Newport) Ohio

Nov 7 Newport Music Hall Columbus, Ohio

Nov 8 The Vogue Indianapolis, Indiana

Nov 9 Turner Hall Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Nov 10 TBA Chicago, Illinois

Nov 23 9:30 Club Washington, DC

Nov 24 Theatre of Living Arts Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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